Tom Richards Cup - Australia v British & Irish Lions
Wallabies advised to be nervous
June 17, 2013
Stuart Hogg is enjoying the opportunity play fly-half © Getty Images
Australia should be worried ahead of the opening Tom Richards Cup Test against the British & Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Stuart Hogg says.
The Lions are undefeated after five matches, and they made another major statement with a 47-17 victory over New South Waratahs on Saturday night. "We're playing a good brand of rugby and mixing our game up pretty well throughout the games," Hogg said when asked if the Wallabies had reason to be concerned by the Lions' strong early-tour form. "We're giving them a taste in each game of what's coming and I know if I was them I'd be pretty nervous."
Hogg, 20, is unlikely to feature in the series opener after being named at fly-half for the match against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Tuesday, but he refuses to give up hopes of snaring a spot in the Test squad and stressed the importance of keeping the tourists' unbeaten record intact against the Brumbies.
"It's massively important, in terms of keeping momentum going a win here would do us wonders," he said. "Going into the Test after another win, six out of six, we couldn't be in a better position and all we're going out to do is win."
Pressed on his own chances of unseating likely starting fly-half Jonny Sexton and back-up Owen Farrell before the Brisbane Test, Hogg replied: "I'm playing pretty decent rugby at the moment and I'm hoping to continue the momentum. But to be honest it's not really about being an individual on this tour, it's about being a collective unit and going forward. There's boys in this team who have not played as much as others on the tour so far and they're ready to put their hand up for selection and make Gat's decision pretty tough for him."
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Hogg said he had enjoyed the opportunity to play fly-half for the British & irish Lions after playing predominantly at fullback for Scotland. "It's been an experience. I enjoyed it against Combined Country but no disrespect to them I think it'll be a lot tougher this week, and that's exactly what I wanted. I wanted to have another shot at 10 and if I continue to play well it's all I can ask for."
The Waratahs targeted Lions halves Sexton and Mike Phillips on Saturday night, and Hogg fully expects the Brumbies to employ similar rough-house tactics on Tuesday night. "They're a big, physical team who'll be coming straight at us so they'll probably have a little go at us every now and then."But it's all about taking it on the chin and getting on with the job and worrying about our own performance."